Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Racing Rules of Sailing

The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012 take effect worldwide January 1, 2009. Most of the rules changes are the result of suggestions from competitors and race officials. Some significant changes will be implemented, most applying to rules at marks and obstructions. These include new rules 18, 19 and 20 and the new definitions Mark-Room, Zone and Fetching as well as edited definitions of Clear Astern, Clear Ahead, Overlap and Obstruction.

Section C - which deals with marks and obstructions - contains the most changes. The major revisions include: The Zone (around a mark) has been expanded from two-boat lengths and defined as "the area around a mark within a distance of three hull lengths of the boat nearer to it. A boat is in the Zone when any part of her hull is in the Zone."

There is a new term Mark-Room: "Room for a boat to sail to the mark, and then room to sail her proper course while at the mark. However, mark-room does not include room to tack unless the boat is overlapped to windward and on the inside of the boat required to give mark-room."

Obstructions on the race course have been rewritten to clarify what one is and obligations to act. For example, the rules now say that a right-of way boat may choose to pass an obstruction on either side. The rules also specify that a boat is not able to call for room at an obstruction that is also a mark of the course.

Several resources are available to learn the new rules, including expert interpretation that may help you use them in your racecourse strategy:

Perhaps the best resource is the red-lined document showing ALL the changes - you can get it here...

Racing Rules of Sailing 2009-2012 (with changes)

In addition, here are some other links that you might find helpful...
  • 2009-2012 The Rules in Practice, Bryan Willis,
  • 2009 Rules Seminar Presented by North U.,
  • Dave Perry’s 100 Best Racing Rules Quizzes,
  • Handy Guide to the Racing Rules, 2009-2012, US SAILING,
  • The Racing Rules of Sailing for 2009-2012, US SAILING,
  • UK-Halsey Racing Rules Blog, Butch Ulmer, President of UKHalsey International, discusses the new rules changes.
  • Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing through 2012, Dave Perry,
  • Speed & Smarts by Dave Dellenbaugh. The next issue includes an in depth look at the rule changes.

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